Apple’s best wireless headphones – the AirPods Pro – have been with us since 2019, which is a long time in the tech world. But now that we’re only days away from Apple’s next iPhone 14 event in September, the interwebs are abuzz with talk of the AirPods Pro 2, or whatever Apple ends up calling them.
What will the next AirPods Pro be called?
Before we get into what we expect, let’s discuss this name for a second. While Apple hasn’t been totally against adding numbers to its product in the past – I’m looking at you iPad 2 and iPad 3 – it hasn’t done much lately. With the exception of the iPhone line (which has only occasionally deviated from the number naming game), almost all Apple products keep their names, which means we have to start using year references.
A perfect recent example is the latest Apple TV 4K, which the company launched in 2021 without changing the product name, so we’re stuck with “Apple TV 4K (2021)”. Do you see where I’m going?
Apple’s next headphones will likely retain the AirPods Pro name. But if they do, you can bet he’ll add (2022) to clarify who we’re talking about. Also, don’t be surprised if you see AirPods Pro 2 somewhere, at least during casual use.
So what do the next AirPods Pro have in store for us? As with any Apple update, this will be a mix of new features and enhancements to existing functions, with a focus on improvements.
There’s been a lot of talk about expanded health and fitness tracking. (More on that in a minute.) Or maybe even something to go along with the AR features. But either way, Apple has been completely silent so far. So we’ll just have to wait and see.
Active noise cancellation (ANC) and transparency
The AirPods Pro still have the best transparency you’ll find in a set of wireless headphones, but we’d love any improvements Apple manages to add. It’s the ANC function that interests us the most. In 2019, it turned out to be one of the best noise canceling options money can buy, but tons of ANC headphones have been introduced since then. And while the AirPods Pro are still very good, they aren’t quite as good as the Bose QuietComfort headphones or the Sony WF-1000XM4. Expect much better ANC from the AirPods Pro 2.
AirPods as a family of wireless headphones have always sounded good, but never good. And yet we know that Apple can produce really solid sound when it wants – just look at the (admittedly much more expensive) AirPods Max. If Apple wants to keep the AirPods Pro as the top choice for Apple fans, it needs to kick their audio quality up a notch.
How will Apple improve audio even further? A popular option is for the company to add lossless audio support through the ALAC audio codec. After all, what good is lossless music on Apple Music if you can’t hear it on your headphones? To do this, Apple will have to establish close cooperation between the new AirPods Pro and its phones/tablets/computers, since lossless audio has much higher bandwidth requirements. Qualcomm was the first company to introduce lossless audio over Bluetooth with its aptX Lossless codec, but it only works when the headphones and the source device use Qualcomm’s technology.
Better battery life
Apple doesn’t exactly have a reputation for making battery life a priority – the entire AirPods family tends to take the bottom half of the battery life rankings in their respective categories – but we can always hope. Especially if there’s an option to disable ANC and lossless audio, we could finally see over five hours of use on a single charge.
This has been the subject of speculation for years and does not materialize. And yet, it makes so much sense. If Apple can take advantage of the sensors in the Apple Watch to provide a whole suite of data that can be linked to its Health and Apple Fitness+ products, why not pull more data from your headphones as well?
The third-generation AirPods introduced new sensors that take a different approach to wear detection by using infrared light to tell the difference between skin and other objects or materials. Could an upgrade to this technology enable other sensing activities such as blood oxygen levels and heart rate? And would that even make sense given that the new Apple Watches already do this? We will find out soon enough.
Apple has a penchant for keeping its product prices static where it can, so it’s a safe bet the next AirPods Pro will be priced at $249, just like the current model. This is an ideal price, not only compared to other AirPods models, but also compared to the competition. That is, unless Apple does something really surprising with its next headphones.
If Apple does announce the next AirPods Pro at the September iPhone event, they’ll likely be available for pre-order immediately, or within a week, and shipments should begin by the end of the month – the first week of October at the latest. . Apple will want people to know them well by the time the all-important Black Friday retail event rolls around in November, for those crucial holiday purchases.